ISLAMABAD: Upset over India’s aggressive foreign policy moves, the senators on Tuesday asked the government to immediately rectify its “diplomatic failings”.
Taking part in a discussion on an adjournment motion moved by PML-N’s Javed Abbasi on the “recent test of an intercept missile by India contributing to an unhealthy arms race in the region”, the senators also expressed their concerns over India’s growing relations with Afghanistan, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
In their speeches, they highlighted the recent visits of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to various countries which were considered to be friends of Pakistan.
Aziz says measures being taken to augment defence capabilities
In its efforts to have a full-fledged and multi-layered ballistic missile defence system, India on May 15 had successfully test-fired an indigenously-developed supersonic interceptor missile, capable of destroying any incoming ballistic missile.
Mushahid Hussain Sayed, who is also the chairman of the Senate defence committee, drew the attention of the house towards the “growing collusion between India and the US”.
The PML-Q senator said the Indian prime minister was currently in Washington where he was scheduled to address the US Congress. In the next couple of days, he said, the member states of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) would be considering India’s request to join the group.
Alleging that Pakistan’s diplomacy had failed, Mr Sayed said that if India became a member of the NSG, it would be able to block Pakistan’s entry into the group. “We have alienated Iran and Afghanistan and the two countries are now improving their economic ties with India,” he said.
“We are going to enter an unending arms race,” he said while referring to the May 15 Indian missile test. Besides efforts to counter Indian designs through military means, he called for “cohesion” within the country, saying that India should not be in a position to take advantage of the situation inside Pakistan.
Calling for an honest review of the security and defence policies, PPP’s Farhatullah Babar said the policy of supporting non-state actors for advancement of certain security objectives had also spurred arms race in the region. “There will be no arms race in the region if foreign and security policies are formulated by civilians,” he added.
Mr Babar was of the view that the civilian and political leadership must wake up and retrieve the space in formulating security policies already dangerously ceded to the security establishment.
Former interior minister Rehman Malik said Iran was even ready to provide its base to India. He said the US had never recognised Pakistan’s role in the war on terror. He asked why the US did not target Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour through its drones while he was travelling in Iran.
Winding up the debate, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan would take all possible measures to augment its defence capabilities.
“Pakistan is not oblivious to its defence requirements and upgrading its capabilities through suitable technologies without entering into an arms race,” he said, adding that “our efforts for peace and friendship must not be interpreted as our weakness. We are fully capable to defend our people and territory”.
Mr Aziz said the country’s scientists and experts were monitoring and evaluating the strategic threats that Indian nuclear doctrine posed to national security. He said that despite limited resources, Pakistan had developed a robust nuclear deterrent system.
The adviser said Pakistan was planning to highlight the dangerous implications of India’s plan to nuclearise the Indian Ocean at all the relevant international forums. He said Pakistan was also considering the option of moving a resolution in the UN General Assembly, seeking to declare the Indian Ocean as nuclear-free.
Mr Aziz said Pakistan was lobbying effectively and proactively in all the member countries of the NSG, adding: “Our efforts towards non-discriminatory approach will pay off.”
Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani suggested that if the members desired, the Senate could be converted into the committee of the whole house to prepare new “terms of engagements with the US”. Amidst desk-thumping, he said the committee could invite stake-holders and hold in-camera sittings on the matter.
Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2016